6/29-30 Workshop on Integrating the Study of African American English into Linguistics Curricula

June 29-30, 2013
2407 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Sonja Lanehart (Sonja.Lanehart@utsa.edu)

See Workshop Description

As institutions of higher learning place more emphasis on undergraduate research and education, there will be a greater demand for undergraduate courses that offer a wide range of experiences for students. General education requirements and integrative education initiatives call for expansion of approaches in undergraduate linguistics courses. In addition to introducing students to content and methods of analysis in the discipline, linguistics courses will also have to provide clear opportunities for students to use critical thinking skills in problem solving and carrying out assignments, address real world problems, and consider issues from multiple perspectives. This workshop focuses on integrating African American English (AAE) into linguistics curricula, moving beyond introducing isolated concepts related to the linguistic system and to the connection between language and society. It focuses on the integration of AAE into linguistics curricula as an entire course as well as a unit in a course from the perspective of three broad goals:

1. To integrate information about AAE with information from “formal” and experimental courses in linguistics
2. To provide explicit opportunities for students to apply critical thinking skills to problems in the study of AAE
3. To extend information about AAE to challenging questions, issues, and real world problems in areas such as “formal” approaches to the study of AAE and language acquisition in AAE-speaking communities and education

Part 1 of the workshop presents a general overview that considers definitions of AAE that are based on information about speakers, “unique” features, varieties of English and other languages, and linguistic systems. In addition myths, attitudes, beliefs, and ideology, as well as discourse and identity and the use of AAE versus appropriation of features are addressed in Part 1 of the workshop. Part 2 of the workshop considers the linguistic system, including current views about variation. Data, problem sets, and sources will be presented, and workshop participants will have the opportunity to develop and work through mini lessons on AAE.